In the early afternoon of Saturday, May 22, 2021, at the corner of East Seaside Way and Pine Ave, protestors organized a demonstration in opposition to the Health and Human Services (HHS) facility operating within the Long Beach Convention Center. The event was coordinated by BAMN (By Any Means Necessary), a coalition that works to defend affirmative action, integration, and immigrant rights.
The Long Beach Convention Center facility currently houses several hundred migrant children awaiting reunification with family members across the United States and has reportedly united upwards of 500 children with sponsors.
The organization and participants of the demonstration were critical of both the local and federal government’s actions involving migrant children currently being detained. In resolution, BAMN organizer Hoku Jeffrey states, “All immigrant children put in detention after crossing the border must be freed now. They and their families must be granted refugee status and reunited immediately. The right for immigrants to leave their home nation if they feel they can no longer live there and seek refuge in another nation is an international human right. But this right is reduced to words on paper if they are not granted the protection and freedoms of refugee status. President Biden must declare a humanitarian crisis at the border now and grant refugee status to all families arriving at the border.”
Though the Long Beach Facility is due to close come August, similar facilities are expected to continue operations for the foreseeable future across the state of California and the country as a whole. This past weekend’s demonstration by BAMN is just one of many voicings of community concerns regarding the city’s participation and complacency with what they believe is the wrongful detention of migrant children seeking refuge.